January 2021 Blog/Newsletter

Posted by Donette littlecottagequilts@gmail.com on

Happy New Year everyone! I sincerely hope that y’all had a nice holiday season and are all healthy and at peace. This past year has been one that we never expected to experience in our lifetime. It’s been a rough and rocky year. I’m hoping that y’all came thru it with only a few minor scars. We have been very blessed indeed and are very grateful for it. We don’t know what to expect in this new year, but we are hopeful that it will be much better than the last.
New seems to always be better…………right? Well, sometimes, but not always. My old computer, that I have used and loved for 15+ years, is so old that it can’t be updated anymore, which means it isn’t supported by many of the programs I use. 😟 You know what that means, 😝 I had to buy a new computer!! Now everything is different and I’m trying to learn a new word processor. My phone is acting like it’s on it’s last leg. My washer and dryer are both making weird noises. And my microwave is diminishing in power. It seems that it never ends! Is 2021 going to be the year of “NEW”?? I’m not a big fan of “new”, I’m kind of partial to antiques, tried and true methods, quality construction & materials. Am I dating myself?? Don’t get me wrong, I love modern convinces, I just wish they would make them to last, like a few decades. It seems everything is disposable anymore and that makes me very sad. I love my old sewing machines, they are wonderful work horses. I love my antique furniture, it’s so sturdy and solid with so much character. My car is old but reliable. Technology, not so much. So here I sit, in this new year, on a new computer, struggling to get this blog post done, with a new outlook. 😊 I think I might be looking forward to some new in our lives.
We are definitely looking forward to finally being able to really get going on our new house. All the utilities are completed, the plans are set (except for minor tweaking, if I can transfer them to the new computer-YIKES). It seems like forever since we started the foundation. But life gets in the way and unexpected events arrises. Nothing is simple or easy. I am looking forward to posting pictures of the progress. I don’t know how fast it will progress or how far we will get, but I do know I really don’t want to spend another winter in this drafty, old, falling down, 100 year old house. I’m motivated to get it moving!

We continue to work on the Cottage in our time away from the shop. It’s getting there and has been tested by our kids, one family at a time. The upstairs bathroom is still under construction as Chris struggles with running plumbing thru places it was never intended to be. Remodeling is so much harder than new construction! Partly why we are looking so forward to building the new house.

Speaking of new, new colors of Kona Cotton just arrived. The beautiful and serene Kona color of 2021, Horizon. Going to be very popular this year I think.

We have some wonderful new colors of Cuddle on the way. And a new group of jigsaw puzzles just arrived. Apparently, jigsaw puzzles are an important part of a COVID survival kit?!?! LOL !! We have plenty :) Here's just a sampling

Looking forward to a bright and happy New Year.
Stay safe, be smart and Keep sewing!

Tip of the Month
January 2021 Tip:
When you are piecing your quilt top together, use a shade of gray thread. Gray is the most neutral color and blends with all colors. If you are using a lot of white and colors, choose a light grey. Darker colors, choose a darker gray, etc.

Our hours are:
Wednesday thru Saturdays – noon to 5 pm
Please, honor these safety protocols:
Face masks must be worn at all times while you are in the shop
Hand sanitizer must be used before entering the shop (provided by door)
Social distancing - a minimum of 6 feet apart
If you don’t feel well, PLEASE stay home
Thank you so much for your respect and cooperation.
for further information call 830-589-2502
email : littlecottagequilts@gmail.com
web orders: littlecottagequiltshop.com
We are here to help you as much as we possibly can.

Warriors Heart Quilt project. We are so grateful for all y’all who have contributed to this amazing cause.

More are always needed, so if you are looking for a new project, please consider making a quilt to donate to this project, it is a truly fantastic cause. Use up some of your stash, or you can purchase a kit from the Cottage. Thank you so much for your participation.

“Warriors Heart” is a treatment center for physiologically wounded active military, veterans and 1st responders. Sometimes these wounds are the most long lasting because they are unseen. You can check out Warriors Heart on their website. www.WarriorsHeart.com

It’s easy and simple to do. You may choose any pattern you wish. Quilts must be no smaller than 44” X 58” or larger than 60” X 72”. Each snuggle quilt must be finished completely, (quilted, bound & preferably have a label about the person who made it) and returned to Little Cottage Quilt Shop. Once turned in, all finished quilts become the property of Little Cottage Quilt Shop and will be donated to Warriors Heart in Bandera.

Valuable Info
“Squaring Up Blocks”

I have been working on a custom order quilt the last few weeks. I was reminded of the importance of squaring up your blocks. Maybe it’s my OCD personality. Maybe it’s from being married to an engineer for (almost) 48 years. Maybe it’s from gutting and rebuilding a dozen houses over those 46 years. Or maybe it’s from years of doing stained glass. (If my stained glass work wasn’t perfectly square, my husband would not frame them for me,) I’m very precise about “squaring up” quilt blocks, etc. I’m always amazed at how many quilters and sewist, don’t understand the importance of precise, consistent seams and squaring up your blocks as you go.

A beautiful quilt or any fiber creation, is a work of art and usually ends up a family heirloom. Some of them even end up in museums. But in order to have a work of art that is outstanding and admired by all viewers, it needs to be square and balanced. The better the basic components are, the better the end result. Now that doesn’t mean that it can’t have an asymmetrical pattern, or a scalloped bound edge. It means that the blocks that comprise the quilt piece need to be uniform and balanced, commonly referred to as “Squared Up”.

I will attempt to explain this process and hope that helps. It’s one of those things that is better shown than explained, but here goes:
As you assemble your blocks, as soon as you have reached a designated size for each block, (4”, 6”, 12” etc) square up to that size. For example, the pictures I am using, are for a 16” block, so the center is going to be at the 8” mark. {I prefer to use a 16 ½” square up tool, because I can use it for any size block.}
Find the center of your block, it will be half the size of your block. (ie: 16” block, center at 8” – 6” block, center at 3” and so on) You can fold it in half and in half again the other way, or measure from the outside in. Find that measurement on your square up tool and set it at the center mark on your block.
Use the strong diagonal line of the square up tool to line up with the diagonal corners also. Watch for any star points that you might have. Make sure that the ¼” seam will still be available after you trim. You might have to adjust the square up tool to allow for that. It’s OK to “fudge” it a bit, but not too much or you will change the shape of the block and that will affect the final outcome.


Once you have placed the square up tool correctly on your block, hold it down firmly and trim off the excess on the right & top sides ONLY.

(If you have a turn table cutting mat, turn the table around 180 degrees to cut the other 2 sides, but you will still have to lift the square up tool to adjust for the second trim) If you don’t have a turn table, pick up the square up tool and the block. Turn your block 180 degrees. Lay the square up tool back down on the block. Only this time you are going to line up the 2 edges that you just cut with the measurement line on the ruler that matches your block size. Trim off the remaining 2 side of the block.


Once you have made all your blocks all the same uniform size, the assembly of the blocks into the finished quilt top will be much easier. The final appearance of the top will be smoother, better matched up and lay flatter.

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